That's what I was thinking when my friend Wendigo showed me David Slade's cinema adaptation of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith's graphic novel. He'd read the book before he saw the movie, while to me the story was all new. Even before it was published, he was intrigued by the idea of thirty days without sun making the town of Barrow AK open season on humans for vampire tourists. Templesmith's art inspired him to think cinematically about the story before he'd even heard news of a movie being made. What he likes about it is that it's pure horror in which the vampires are pure monsters. To that extent the movie is more than faithful.
While the graphic novel posits a vampire society in which the pack leader is answerable to a more powerful master, in the film the vampires operate on a purely pack level. None of them are given names, and they don't even speak a human language. Wendigo thinks this costs the film some of the comics' complexity, since the graphic novel portrays the invading vampires as rogues whose reckless rampage endangers the larger vampire community. But doing away with the vampire backstory makes the horror of the film story more stark and the use of vampire language enhances the sense of alien threat. Apart from the malice they express, these vampires may as well be zombies, but the kind of malice that zombies don't express is necessary for this film to work as a horror movie.
It's when the film deals with the comics' human characters that it starts going wrong. The big change is in the relationship of Sheriff Eben (Josh Hartnett) and his wife Stella (Melissa George). In the graphic novel, Wendigo says, theirs is a deathless profound love, but the movie starts them off as the typical estranged couple (e.g. The Abyss)whose reconciliation is facilitated by crisis. And crisis is all it takes, because the script by Niles and two collaborators does next to nothing either to keep them bickering or to show their love rekindling. The writers seem to think it suffices to give Eben family to fight for, introducing two relatives in the movie (a grandmother and younger brother) who don't exist in the graphic novel and don't do much to justify their presence on screen. After establishing the grandmother's vulnerability, the movie never shows us her fate. But the real loss as far as Wendigo's concerned is with the main couple, because it's Eben's love for Stella that motivates him to take an extreme, soul-risking step to finally deal with the vampire menace. In the movie the main motivation seems to be to make possible a big fight scene at the end.
Above, vampires can't stand up to modern machinery. Below, Huston bites the big one.
Here's the trailer as uploaded to YouTube by SeventhDirectorate: